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  • Writer's pictureKaren Onail

Tails of Therapy Dogs

Hi everyone!

My name is Deuce, I'm an American Cocker Spaniel. The picture shows me when I first started my Therapy Dog career, graduation night, Fall of 2013!

I'm getting older now, soon I'll be 10! Hitting the double digits, WHEW! Anyway I want to share my beginning with you all! You see my mom, met me just before my 1st birthday at my breeders, I was a handsome boy who was intended to be a model (well not a model really, I was gonna have a career as a conformation dog). But my mom was really sad because her other dog had just passed away. Then she met my breeders and of course she fell in love with me. Like DUH whats not to love, right?

After I came to live with Mom, she decided that she was interested in doing something called Therapy Dog work, because her friend Brenda and Reazon (RIP) had so much fun making people smile, she though it would be a good thing for us to do too.

So Mom and I went to school and learned all about being a therapy dog team. After we graduated, I visited places like Children's Hospital of Detroit, Lakeland Place Senior Living, and Grace Centers of Hope Children's Center. I soon learned that little ol' me could make lots of people happy just by being a natural wiggle butt!

Sharing Secrets!

While I was working, I met a very special friend. Her name is Diane Crist, and she had just been diagnosed with cancer, she had moved into a small apartment and had to re-home her dog, so she was very sad. Since I was at Therapy Dog work, our friends Brenda and Reazon, went with us on our first few visits. And of course Ms. Diane fell in love with me! I was young, silly and full of energy and Ms. Diane LOVED that about me! Ms. Diane started requesting us to visit on a regular schedule and she would play a game called "find it!" with me. Before I would get to her apartment, she would hide treats all over her house and I would have to find them. I LOVED that game, because well, I LOVE food! But she always kept one special treat hidden on her. When the game was over, I would jump up and sit really nice and let her pet me, and then I would get my special treat. Ms. Diane, helped make me the awesome Therapy Dog I am today!

I started noticing that Ms. Diane was getting slower, and her apartment started looking different. She was clearing things out, and now there was a tube that ran through her room, attached to a thing that made noise. I was very concerned. She told me it was ok, that it was oxygen and she now needed it to make her feel better! Soon mom told me that we were going to see Ms. Diane. I was so excited! Ms. Diane and I were best pals, I swear she could read my mind. I was very very sensitive to Ms. Diane and her declining health. When we would visit, mom was chopped liver! I wanted only my Ms. Diane! And SHE needed ME.

On our next visit I was super excited but when we got there, and mom got me out of the car to put my work uniform on, I looked around and thought what a dirty trick! This is not Ms. Dianes , I have no idea where we are, but mom says we are here to "work" and see Ms. Diane.

We walked into this new place, it smelled funny. Mom said it was a disinfectant. We walked down several hallways, and then I sensed Ms. Diane! I started pulling down another hallway, because of course my mom was lost and had no idea where she was going. Mom kept saying, No Deuce the lady said it was this way. I'm like NOPE this way! I went right to Ms. Diane's room! It was very different, like a hospital room, none of her stuff was there, but she was! I jumped up on the bed to to inspect and make sure she was ok, after all that was my job to make sure she was ok and happy! Ms. Diane was sleeping, but she woke up when she felt me rub her hand with my long soft ears.

There were no more "find it!" games when we visited now, and that made me sad but I was always glad to see her anyway. We visited Ms. Diane for several months at her new room, mom said it was called hospice. Sometimes Ms. Diane slept the entire time I was there, but mom just let me lay with Ms. Diane so she wasn't afraid. I knew that our souls were communicating and she was more comfortable with me there. Sometimes she would wake up and talk with me for a few minutes. She told me she would soon be leaving, and we wouldn't get to visit anymore. That made me sad, I just knew that my job with Ms. Diane was coming to an end after 3 whole years of visiting, laughing and playing special games with her.

One day, mom came home from work, and she was sad. She said we needed to go see Ms. Diane, so we headed out. When we arrived, Ms. Diane wasn't there anymore. She had moved on to her next adventure. I miss my friend Diane so so much. Mom and I attended Ms. Diane's Memorial per her request, she had wanted me to be there to make her friends and family smile and not be sad. But I was sad. I grieved for months. I didn't want to go to work, so mom gave me a break and we didn't do visits for awhile.

Now I am back to work, and since we said good bye to Ms. Diane, I have continued to bring miles of smiles to people of all ages. I love the work I do, and the people I get to meet. So that's my career start! Keep watching this page for more Tails of a Therapy Dog Adventures!

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